The Golden Bowl - Volume One, Book First, Chapters 2-3 Summary & Analysis

This Study Guide consists of approximately 42 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Golden Bowl.
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Volume One, Book First, Chapters 2-3 Summary

During his discussion with Fanny, the Prince admits the fear that his upcoming marriage brings to him. The Prince promises not to run away from the monster of his marriage as long as Fanny promises to help guide him along the way. He shares with her his fear that he will someday do something wrong without even being aware that what he is doing is wrong. He believes Fanny can steer him clear of these possible wrongs. The Prince tells Fanny he believes her moral sense is much stronger than his own.

Throughout their talk, the Prince feels as if Fanny is ill at ease about something. He finally questions her about this feeling and Fanny tells him that his old friend Charlotte Stant is in town. Like Fanny, the Prince is also adversely affected by the knowledge that Charlotte is in town just before his wedding. The two agree they had not expected Charlotte, but that Maggie will be happy to see her. Fanny tells the Prince that Charlotte will be staying with her and should be arriving back at the house soon. As they wait for her arrival the Prince and Fanny discuss Charlotte's reasons for coming for the wedding.

In Chapter 3 the Prince goes so far as to suggest that after he and Maggie are married that Charlotte should come and live with them. It is soon after this comment is made that Charlotte enters the room. As the Price sees her again, he remembers all of the things he once knew so well about her. Although the Prince feels as if he should leave the two women alone, he intentionally stays in hopes of discovering how long Charlotte will be staying. As the Prince and Charlotte speak to each other for the first time, the Prince determines that Charlotte has come with the intention of seeing Maggie, her old school friend, happy. The Prince knows Maggie has been writing to Charlotte and keeping her up to date on her wedding preparations. Maggie does not know, however, how well the Prince and Charlotte know each other.

When Fanny returns to the room, Charlotte and the Prince are discussing Charlotte's options of marrying or staying single. Charlotte insists that if the two want to see her married so badly, they must arrange this union for her. The talk turns to the Prince's own wedding and Charlotte asks him to help her pick out a wedding gift for Maggie. Fanny asks if she cannot help Charlotte choose the gift, but Charlotte insists the Prince help her do the choosing.

Volume One, Book First, Chapters 2-3 Analysis

James develops his plot as he introduces Fanny Assingham and Charlotte Stant in chapters two and three. According to the text, Fanny is the one who introduced Maggie and the Prince to one another. She is in a way, the reason the two are getting married. In light of this role, the Prince decides to visit Fanny in an attempt to persuade the woman to agree to continue to watch over him. He believes that with her help, he will not do anything that will bring harm to himself or his marriage. Note that James describes this relationship in sailing terminology. Although the Prince notes he does not need to be in the same boat as Fanny, he wants to keep her within sight so that he can take cues from her.

In Chapter three Charlotte Stant is introduced. Although it is not known to Maggie, it is obvious that the Prince and Charlotte shared a deep and intimate relationship in the past. Judging from the Prince's reaction to the news that Charlotte is in town, it appears that these two may still have feelings for each other. The Prince, however, takes his cues from Charlotte and believes she has come simply to see her friend's happiness. At the conclusion of chapter three, however, Charlotte asks the Prince to help her choose a wedding gift for Maggie. Although this request may be purely innocent, it also gives the two a chance to be alone together.

This section contains 697 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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